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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

ICE Closes Deportation Case Against Same Sex Spouse

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Some good news from Stop the Deportations - The DOMA Project reporting on a victory by my friend Lavi Soloway:

Today, the government publicly announced it has dropped the deportation proceedings that threatened to tear apart Alex Benshimol and Douglas Gentry -- a married, gay, binational couple in California -- marking the second time in which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has agreed to close a deportation case involving a married, same-sex couple.

This victory for Benshimol and Gentry of Cathedral City, California -- the first same-sex deportation case to close following the June 17 prosecutorial discretion guidelines issued by ICE Director John Morton -- ends their personal nightmare and signifies a hopeful future for thousands of other same-sex binational couples facing deportation. After appearing before San Francisco Immigration Judge Marilyn Teeter for their deportation hearing on July 13, Judge Teeter instructed the government to respond within 60 days to a lengthy and detailed request for administrative closure from the couple's attorney, Lavi Soloway.

Judge Teeter scheduled the next hearing for September 2013, postponing deportation proceedings for more than two years in the event that the government did not agree to close the case. On August 11, however, Judge Teeter received and granted the government's Motion to Administratively Close deportation proceedings against Benshimol.

On August 18, Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, announced a case-by-case review of all current and future deportation cases - another milestone in the fight to repeal DOMA.

"We are cautiously optimistic after the announcement this week by Secretary Napolitano that all 300,000 pending deportation cases will be reviewed for possible closure, including those impacting LGBT families," says Soloway. "However, we do not yet know the mechanics of that process, nor how long it will take for the government working group to carry out its mission. In the meantime, we must continue to fight for each couple and for an end to DOMA deportations across the board."

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  1. US Visa Extension's Avatar
    Deportations of immigrants in same sex marriages with those who have US citizenship have been temporarily put on hold.

    Coming shortly after a high-profile case involving a New York judge's order to stop the deportation of a woman from Argentina, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security has halted the deportation of all such people.
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